The early onset of winter experienced this year by residents in Siberia and the Ural Mountains could mark the start of a 35-year cycle of colder weather, a leading Russian scientist said Wednesday.
"Changes in climate are cyclical. From 1946 to 1976, there was a cold cycle, which was then replaced by a warmer one. This [warmer] cycle was supposed to end at the start of the 20th century, but lasted a bit longer due to increased solar activity," Vladimir Melnikov, a member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, was quoted as saying Wednesday by the TASS news agency.
Melnikov, who is affiliated with the Siberian branch of the science academy, is now predicting the colder temperatures already recorded in Siberia and the Urals this year indicate the dawn of a colder climate cycle, the report said.
During the predicted cooling, temperatures will drop by about 1 degree Celsius compared to those experienced in previous years, TASS reported, adding that changes in climate cycles take place against an overall warming of the Earth's atmosphere.
Melnikov is not the first to predict that Russians could be in for a cold spell.
"In the winter of 2014-15, calculations show that [December and January] will be colder than usual, especially if we are talking about the Central Federal District, the Urals Federal District and Siberia," Yury Varakin, who heads the weather bureau's emergency situations department, said in comments to television channel Mir24.
"By December, we will see a drop in temperature to minus 15 C to minus 20 C. … And in January, we may already be seeing temperature of minus 25 C to minus 30 C, and minus 33 C in places," Varakin added.